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Teachers in the Library Help Students Thrive In and Out of School

The signature Library program returns—and Teachers are sharing stories of success straight from the branches.

As students return to the classroom, access to free and high-quality homework help is more critical to helping children and teens overcome the learning disruptions from the last 23 months. Back for another school year, the Teacher in the Library program is stepping up to meet students where they are—in the branches or online. Accredited teachers are here to help complete homework assignments, prepare for tests, improve study habits, find Library resources, and grow their confidence.

And they’re sharing success stories straight from the branches.

Teacher Diana, West Belmont

“Vianney came for homework help as an elementary student. Now, in 9th grade at Steinmetz College Prep, she has returned to seek help with Algebra. Recently, we successfully worked on an algebraic expression problem that she had. After the session, Vianney left the Library feeling confident and proud that she figured it out. All she needed was a practice partner in problem-solving and encouragement.”

Teacher Mark, Little Italy

“Teresa has been attending the Teacher in the Library program at the Little Italy branch regularly. She is a CPS 5th Grade Student who struggled with both reading comprehension and math computation. She has improved her reading and math skills since she started attending!”

Teacher Christine, Chicago Lawn

“Yadiana is a 7th grader who came to me for tutoring at Chicago Lawn in the fall of 2021, right after the Teacher in the Library program resumed in-person sessions. Her mother was concerned because she had always been a good student in English and writing, but her grade had recently dropped. We have been working ever since to improve her English and writing skills.

One day, Yadiana came in with an assignment: to write a short story. This was a project that lasted weeks. I began by breaking down the assignment into steps, first teaching her outlining, then brainstorming, and organizing ideas. We worked on grammar, punctuation, and writing skills. I taught her by example, guided practice, descriptions, sensory perceptions in writing, and more organization. She learned grammar and punctuation skills which she claimed she had never learned before. Yadiana is an eager, curious student. If I mention something she doesn’t understand, or she has never seen before, she always asks, “Will you teach me that?” I love her enthusiasm, and she is able to absorb a lot. In the end, she wrote a great story and her grades are improving.”

Teacher Victor, Lozano

“A student whom I met as a 7th grader, saw me in the library and asked if I was still the Teacher in the Library. He is a freshman in high school now, and he has been attending the program about once a week since November. We have been working on Language Arts homework. He enjoys working with someone, brainstorming ideas, and getting instant feedback on his work. I have helped him with answering questions on fiction and non-fiction material. Recently, he brought homework where he has to write a short story. We completed a graphic organizer on his ideas for a story, and he said he would come before the winter break in order to finish his short story.”

Teacher Mary, Woodson Regional Library

“Amelia came in with her mom right after I started in November. She’s in second grade and needed help with her reading comprehension homework. I asked her to read the paragraph out loud for me and she told me she couldn’t read. I asked her to point to the words that she could read. She actually read many of the sight words and I told her that she is reading! She was very happy that she could read as many as she did. We worked on some strategies to help her decode words that aren’t sight words. I made some flashcards that I keep in my binder for when she comes in. We’ve been working on them and she has gotten so good at decoding words/reading!”

Teacher Leonetta, Kelly branch

“This year, I was pleased to see a familiar face as I was hoping our former students would return to the branch. A student I’ll call F., a freshman in high school, asked me for help with reading and math. Before the pandemic, I knew F. struggled with these subjects.

In the sessions we had so far, I was able to clarify for F. how to line up numbers correctly when adding double or triple digits and gave reminders of how when we perform calculations we want to work from the right side and move to the left. I went over the concept of place value and drew out a little diagram showing buckets of water which I used to explain that each bucket only holds 9, 90, or 900 drops. F. really connected to the visual of water spilling over becoming a “ten” in the middle “tens” bucket, and then 9 tens in that middle bucket spilling over to hundreds when we get ten more drops and the middle bucket soon will spill over to the hundreds bucket. The next time F. came in, we had fun doing examples and practicing with the place value buckets. I am glad to see that my illustration of the concept made sense to the student and thus shows a small impact!”

Thank you, Teachers, for the amazing work you are doing to help students learn and succeed!

Teacher in the Library is a donor-powered program that gives thousands of students the academic support they need. With your gift, we can continue to help more children and families in Chicago.